It can be hard to live up to comic book fans’ expectations, but some actors are woefully miscast in superhero movies, like Ben Affleck as Daredevil.
Comic book roles are difficult to cast in Hollywood blockbusters because the characters are already well-rounded and well-established in comic form. Plus, millions of readers across the world — the main target audience of those Hollywood blockbusters — have already formed an idea in their heads of who each character is that actors are rarely able to live up to.
For every well-cast superhero role, like Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark or Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman or Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa, there are just as many that are woefully miscast. The wrong actor can ruin a movie, or at least their character in that movie.
10 Miscast: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor
Lex Luthor is one of the most iconic supervillains ever created, but he was completely butchered in his characterization in Batman v Superman.
This is partly because he was written as a whiny Silicon Valley dork with a silver spoon in his hand, and partly because a giggling Jesse Eisenberg played him more like a pale imitation of Heath Ledger’s Joker than Lex himself.
9 Would’ve Been Better: Jude Law
When it comes to naming actors who could play a great Lex Luthor, fans usually choose actors who are famously bald, like Corey Stoll, or famously played bald characters, like Bryan Cranston.
But any actor can shave their head. Playing Lex requires more than just a lack of hair. Jude Law has the effortlessly charming facade to play Lex, as well as the ability to turn sinister at the drop of a dime.
8 Miscast: Topher Grace As Venom
Venom’s role in Spider-Man 3 is just a disaster from start to finish, and Avi Arad has taken responsibility for it. Sam Raimi wasn’t really interested in the character, but Arad forced the director to include him as fan service. As a result, the movie is overstuffed with villains and storylines and Eddie Brock is nothing like his comic book counterpart.
Even Topher Grace himself thought he was miscast. When he got the call that he had booked Venom in Spider-Man 3, he said he was surprised that they wanted him for the part.
7 Would’ve Been Better: Aaron Paul
When Sony announced its Venom movie, Aaron Paul was a popular fan casting for the title role. While Tom Hardy’s eccentric performance was perfect for that movie, Paul might’ve been better suited to the Spider-Man 3 version.
Since Spider-Man 3 hit theaters pre-Breaking Bad, Paul might’ve been too young for the role at the time, but as long as the movie’s version of Eddie Brock was going to be a hotshot rival photographer, he could’ve been perfect.
6 Miscast: Ryan Reynolds As Green Lantern
Ryan Reynolds appears to agree that he was miscast in Green Lantern and that the movie is generally really awful because he hasn’t stopped making fun of it since it was released almost a decade ago.
Hal Jordan is one of DC’s most iconic heroes and a cornerstone of the Justice League. Warner Bros. didn’t seem interested in casting someone who was right for the part; they appeared to just be looking for a movie star they could put front and center on a poster.
5 Would’ve Been Better: Nathan Fillion
Despite being beloved by fanboys everywhere, Nathan Fillion doesn’t land a lot of major roles. Outside of his starring role in Firefly and its subsequent movie adaptation Serenity, Fillion has been seriously shortchanged.
And it’s a shame because his roguish charms make him perfect for a number of geeky roles, like Uncharted’s Nathan Drake and, indeed, Green Lantern’s Hal Jordan.
4 Miscast: George Clooney As Batman
In the years since Batman & Robin hit theaters and was instantly panned as one of the worst movies ever made, George Clooney has repeatedly apologized for making it. There was apparently a time when Clooney would reimburse people’s ticket price if they told him they paid to see Batman & Robin.
Clooney isn’t a bad actor, obviously, but he was miscast as Bruce Wayne, and on top of that, Joel Schumacher’s absurd movie was an insult to the rich history of Batman comics. This movie affected the franchise so negatively that it needed Christopher Nolan to dig it out of its grave.
3 Would’ve Been Better: Alec Baldwin
One of the most perfect choices to play Bruce Wayne was Alec Baldwin in the ‘90s. It wouldn’t work today — today, Baldwin is better-suited to the role of Thomas Wayne, whom he was initially cast to play in Joker before dropping out — but in the ‘90s, he had the Caped Crusader’s suaveness, physicality, and grizzled edge.
Of course, Clooney landed the part and Baldwin instead played a different billionaire vigilante in The Shadow. Interestingly, Baldwin was in the running for the role of Batman in Tim Burton’s 1989 movie before Michael Keaton was cast.
2 Miscast: Ben Affleck As Daredevil
Ben Affleck took the lead role in Daredevil as a consolation prize, because he thought he’d never get to play Batman and wanted to at least play a similar masked crimefighter. The failure of Daredevil made Affleck swear off comic book roles forever. He ended up breaking this policy when, ironically, he was offered the role of Batman.
Apparently, the original version of Daredevil was much darker, but the success of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man spurred the studio to reshape the movie as a lighthearted romp. Either way, Affleck’s performance as Matt Murdock is terrible.
1 Would’ve Been Better: Jake Gyllenhaal
Whenever comic book castings are discussed, Jake Gyllenhaal’s name always comes up, because he’s one of the finest actors working today and he could play pretty much anyone. But his edge, renegade charms, and ability to play softly spoken weirdos might’ve made him the ideal choice to play the Man Without Fear.
Gyllenhaal almost played Peter Parker in Spider-Man 2 because Tobey Maguire injured himself filming Seabiscuit and Sony was so eager to get a sequel to Spider-Man out that the studio was more willing to replace the lead actor than delay the movie’s release. Fortunately, Maguire healed in time to maintain continuity.
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